By admin | July 6, 2009
By Richard Allen
On July 1st Jeremy Mayfield was granted an injunction by a federal judge that, at least temporarily, gave him the right to race in NASCAR. However, he did not take advantage of the ruling. He did not make an appearance at the Daytona International Speedway during the weekend of the Coke Zero 400.
In my opinion, Mayfield should have made an appearance. I understand that his team is in disarray and him making the race in the #41 car would have been next to impossible. However, the injunction would have allowed him to be there, racing or not.
The injunction also stipulated that NASCAR will be allowed to test him at anytime. It would have been to Mayfield’s advantage, in my opinion, to have been there and to willingly submit to a test by not only NASCAR but from a third party as well. If he is indeed clean, he would have passed the test. That would have assured other competitors that they had nothing to fear racing with him on the track.
Mayfield claims that the cause of his failed test was a combination of the allergy drug Claritin-D and the Attention Deficit Disorder drug Adderall. He says he took an extra dosage of Claritin in Richmond, where his sample was drawn, because his allergies were particularly bad there. If he has not had any allergy flare-ups since, then there should not be the same problem with further testing.
As Jeff Burton stated during one interview this past week, one problem is that the test does not provide immediate results. By taking a test this past week, the results would have been known by the time everyone arrived in Chicago. That way, no driver would have to answer questions as to whether or not they were leery of racing with Mayfield on the track.
Also, making the effort to be there and willingly submitting to a drug test would have scored Mayfield a major public relations victory. Granted, such a victory would mean virtually nothing in a court of law. However, painting one’s accuser into the bad guy corner adds pressure to that side to make absolutely sure they have their case in order.
Knowing NASCAR is almost certainly going to seek an appeal of this judge’s ruling, Mayfield could have landed a knockout blow to their case with a clean drug test.
Had he been in Daytona, Mayfield would have had an opportunity to appear on the pre-race show and let everyone see that he is not some wild-eyed drug abuser.
I am no lawyer, and I’m sure Jeremy Mayfield was listening to one this past weekend, but it seems to me that had he traveled to Daytona he could have regained the trust of his fellow drivers and scored a public relations coup in the process. For that reason, I believe Mayfield should have been in Daytona.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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